All of Leningrad soon found out that the Rebbe was due to be exiled on Wednesday, 29 Sivan, two weeks after his arrest, and his family received a letter in which he requested that on that day they come to the Spalerka Prison to bid him farewell. When they arrived and asked for details about when and where, they were given no answer. Together with them, a large gathering waited outside, hoping to catch a parting glimpse of the Rebbe as he was taken out. There, in Leningrad, none of them yet knew that Mrs. Fishkova had just informed the Moscow rescue committee that she had personally met with Menzeshinsky and had secured his promise that the exile to the Slovokai Islands would be postponed.

The telegram in which Menzeshinsky gave that order to the GPU of Leningrad reached them while they were in the midst of the last-minute arrangements for transferring the Rebbe to the vehicle that was waiting outside. At the same moment, not knowing this, one of the Rebbe’s close associates sent a telegram to the Moscow committee with the news that the Rebbe was due to be sent away by train at 7:00 that evening.

The committee were in a quandary: Which report should they believe?

The delegation whom they again dispatched to Mrs. Fishkova came back with good news: the telegram about the train had been sent before the crowd waiting outside the prison in Leningrad found out what in fact was happening – that the Rebbe would not be exiled to the Slovokai Islands that day, or even later.

Meanwhile, inside the prison, at 7:00 PM, the Rebbe was summoned for his third interrogation. This, too, was dominated by Lulav, who not only repeated the same questions and claims that had been voiced over and over, but also made every hateful effort to cause the Rebbe anguish.

The Rebbe was told to approach a writing table where Lulav showed him an official document. There, the sentence “Death by firing squad” was followed by an underlined Nyet! (“No”). The next line said, “Ten-year exile in Slovokai!” That too was followed by an underlined Nyet! And under that line came the words, “Three-year exile in Kostrama!”

Lulav warned: “It’s going to be really tough for you out there. A lot of suffering is waiting for you in Kostrama. But you can save yourself all of that by agreeing to participate in the Jewish community conference that was initiated by the Leningrad community. Just publish a declaration that you are recanting your opposition, give your agreement to the conference, and you will be freed immediately.”

“I have no regrets and I am not changing my mind!” the Rebbe declared. “You can threaten me with your harshest punishments, but none of them will make me change my mind. You can even send me to Siberia, if that’s what you want!”

Enraged by this response, both Lulav and Messing, the head of the Leningrad branch of the GPU, decided how they would take their revenge on the Rebbe – they would make him travel to exile on Shabbos!

The Rebbe protested and stated that on Shabbos he would not travel. The only possible solution was another delegation to explain the serious meaning of this refusal to Mrs. Fishkova. She duly secured an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Rikov, in the course of which he telephoned Menzeshinsky and asked him to delay the journey until after Shabbos – and Menzeshinsky agreed.